Jewish Journal

Tag: Bar Mitzvah

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  • A Bar Mitzvah with 1.2 million guests

    By David Suissa

    May 25, 2016 | 1:48 pm

    I rarely pay attention to walls when I’m in a synagogue. I’m usually more focused on the people, the prayers and the rabbi’s sermon.

    On a recent Shabbat, though, I couldn’t stop looking at the walls. I was at a bar mitzvah service for my friend Steve Kessler’s son, Benny, with...

  • Exciting SoCal bar and bat mitzvah party venues

    By Elyse Glickman

    May 10, 2016 | 10:35 am

    Themed bar and bat mitzvah celebrations built around a teen’s personality and interests have long been popular. Another trend has been destination bar or bat mitzvahs, where families hold the event at a meaningful site in another state or country. 

    But there is a middle ground...

  • Community spirit

    May 6, 2016 | 2:23 pm

    As the 50th anniversary of my bar mitzvah approached in February, I began to ask myself if it left any lasting marks. 

    Five decades after turning 13, I still had the tallit and a pop culture museum piece — a half-used bottle of Jade East, a strongly scented cologne popular with...

  • In defense of the big fat bar/bat mitzvah party

    April 20, 2016 | 1:41 pm

    I took my first baby steps into bat mitzvah planning earlier this year, and I had a lot of feelings — but mostly a twinge of nostalgia. Somehow, a girl who was once a toddler with a furrowed brow, a desperate love of Little Bear and a staying-asleep problem is going to lead an...

  • Israeli teen stabbing victim celebrates bar mitzvah at Western Wall

    December 17, 2015 | 12:29 pm

    An Israeli teen who was stabbed by two Palestinian teens while riding his bike in Jerusalem celebrated his bar mitzvah at the Western Wall.

    Naor Ben-Ezra was joined at the celebration by members of the medical team who treated him at Hadassah Hospital after the October 12 attack...

  • James Franco’s bar mitzvah spectacular

    By Esther D. Kustanowitz

    October 20, 2015 | 10:00 am

    Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer has helped plenty of students prepare for bar or bat mitzvah ceremonies, and, in some ways, the one he officiated on Oct. 3 was no different. It involved months of serious study, a special bar mitzvah speech and even a mitzvah project.

    “It was like any...

  • Actor James Franco has bar mitzvah

    October 6, 2015 | 3:59 pm

    Actor James Franco was bar mitzvahed in a religious ceremony at the age of 37.

    The ceremony was held on Oct. 3 and included the actor wearing a prayer shawl and chanting from the Torah.  Franco posted a photo on Instagram, including a message: “I am now a MAN! Got Bar Mitzvahed...

  • James Franco gets a bar mitzvah, courtesy of pal Seth Rogen

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 22, 2015 | 10:50 am

    “You KNOW you won't want to miss this!!! Seth Rogen and the Gang are going to throw me a Bar Mitzvah!” James Franco euphorically wrote on Instagram recently.

    It’s actually an honorary bar mitzvah for the 37-year-old Franco, who’s known Rogen for ages as well as starred with him...

  • Masorti rips bar mitzvah rite for autistic kids held in Orthodox synagogue

    June 23, 2015 | 1:58 pm

    A foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel slammed a bar mitzvah ceremony held at an Orthodox synagogue for non-Orthodox children with autism.

    Sunday’s ceremony in Rehovot was presided over by an Orthodox rabbi that the nine children and their parents did not know, the ...

  • Bar Mitzvah in Baku

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    May 21, 2015 | 11:45 am

    I recently traveled to Azerbaijan to speak at the 6th International Conference on Multiculturalism at Baku Slavic University. Azerbaijan is a developing country in the Caucuses on the Caspian Sea, rich in oil and agricultural resources, and committed to building a secular Muslim...

  • Twin peaks: Tips for planning a double b’nai mitzvah

    May 15, 2015 | 2:01 pm

    Having two b’nai mitzvah on the same day in the same service is common at my temple here in Los Angeles, and it comes with a unique set of challenges. I have seen my friends who have had children called to the bimah on such occasions cringe at the competition that can follow and...

  • 10 Torah-‘inspired’ bar/bat mitzvah themes

    By Esther D. Kustanowitz

    May 15, 2015 | 1:24 pm

    The contemporary bar or bat mitzvah has become quite a production, but you can still create a spectacle that’s connected to substance. You can even let the Torah portion inspire you, so that your inappropriate excess is also informative and educational. (Well, sort of.)


  • Overcoming oration during a bar/bat mitzvah speech

    May 15, 2015 | 1:12 pm

    As Jerry Seinfeld famously pointed out, studies show that people’s No. 1 fear is public speaking. Death is second. 

    “This means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy,” the lauded comic once remarked.


  • Bar mitzvah film school

    By Pat Sierchio

    May 15, 2015 | 12:40 pm

    Over the years I’ve attended several bar mitzvahs — most of them at the movies.

    Not being Jewish, I’ve only attended one actual bar mitzvah — which took place during the Nixon era — and the only memories I have of it are eating Baked Alaska and trying to swipe whiskey sours from...

  • How to make a money tree for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or graduation gift

    By Jonathan Fong

    May 13, 2015 | 11:51 am

    The gift of cash is always welcome, especially for occasions that mark the beginning of a new journey, like bar and bat mitzvahs, graduations and weddings. But instead of just writing a check or sticking some dollar bills in an envelope, consider giving a money tree. 

    On a money...

  • Woman arrested for sexual abuse of teenagers at a bar mitzvah

    March 27, 2015 | 2:28 pm

    A 32-year-old woman was arrested for alleged sex crimes at a bar mitzvah in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Lindsey Ann Radomski reportedly exposed her breasts to several guests at a bar mitzvah party before engaging in oral sex with a 15-year-old boy, Azcentral.com reported.

    Radomski, who...

  • You haven’t seen a Bar Mitzvah invite video quite like this

    March 6, 2015 | 10:33 am

    This bar mitzvah invite really raises the bar.

    Brody Criz and his family parodied five Top 40 hits for an epic bar mitzvah invitation that has since gotten 800,000 hits on YouTube.

    Criz riffs on "Happy," "All of Me," "Royals," "Let It Go" and "Blurred Lines" in the four-minute clip, subbing song lyrics for jokes that reference rabbis, the Old Testament, and Manischewitz.

    Read more at Daily News.

  • Weirdest Jewish News of 2014?  Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

    By Deena F. Greenberg

    January 1, 2015 | 6:08 pm

    It appeared to be a case of life imitating art, or at least life imitating Tracy Morgan’s Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. This past week, it was widely reported that Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner adopted Yair Tawil, a Jewish boy, to keep him from becoming a werewolf....

  • Adolescent angst gets a do-over with ReBar program

    November 19, 2014 | 1:11 pm

    If you could change one thing about your bar or bat mitzvah, what would it be, and why? 

    Reboot, the think tank that aims to imagine ways of modernizing and revitalizing Jewish tradition, sought to answer that question Nov. 15 with its newest program, reBar. It partnered with the...

  • Gabe Baskin trains guide dogs for the blind

    November 7, 2014 | 2:27 pm

    When Gabe Baskin was preparing for his bar mitzvah, he wanted to find a community service project that would tie into his Torah portion of Re’eh, meaning, “to see.”

    “So I thought there is no better way than helping others see,” said Baskin, now 17.

    He reached out to Guide Dogs...

  • A Recipe For Living Well

    By Beit T'shuvah

    October 31, 2014 | 9:55 am

    By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

    This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah. It also marks the 26th anniversary of my release from Prison in Chino. So, it is truly a weekend of freedom, reflection and gratitude!

    As I think about the Torah Portion, I laugh at God’s sense of...

  • Gifts of art from the heart

    May 16, 2014 | 11:22 am

    As bar and bat mitzvah celebrations have become more sophisticated and often more costly over the years, so, too, have many of the gifts. While many 12- and 13-year-olds continue to welcome fountain pens or jewelry, it’s not unusual for a celebrant to request an iPod or...

  • The ultimate bar or bat mitzvah playlist

    By Ryan Torok

    May 14, 2014 | 2:09 pm

    Tired of listening to Kool & the Gang at b’nai mitzvah parties? Here is a playlist of 13 songs that will bring the shy boys and boy-crazy girls to the dance floor, while following in the talmudic tradition of adding a little commentary to the big day.

    “When I Grow Up (To Be a...

  • The Purim Bar Mitzvah

    March 26, 2014 | 11:24 am

    An extraordinary event, perhaps transformational, occurred here in Malibu California during Purim.   Before I tell you more, let me provide a personal context.

    It may seem paradoxical, but although I am a FFB (frum from birth), my first natural reaction is to be  a skeptic. Frum...

  • The easy way to write your speech for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah

    December 18, 2013 | 4:37 pm

    Most people are happier being reaudited by a fiber-deficient IRS agent than speaking in public. They’re even more fartutst about writing their own speeches. 

    Sometimes, we have to do both. 

    It’s easy for me. I’ve been a speechwriter all my life. But you can do it, too,...

  • Jewish ignorance is a disease, you are the cure

    By Salvador Litvak

    October 30, 2013 | 12:12 pm

    “Whoever does not visit the sick is as if he spilled blood.” — Rabbi Akiva (Nedarim 40a, B. Talmud)

    Our fellow Jews are sick. They don’t admit it. They don’t even know it. Yet the malady is grave. “The most destructive, painful, most contagious disease of all,” Rabbi Noah...

  • Should I “Rescue” My Middle-Schooler?

    October 23, 2013 | 8:07 pm

    My three kids and I made it out the door on time this morning - and, yes, I will happily accept congratulations for this not-always-the-case occurrence! The ride to school went smoothly, and one of our favorite safety-patrollers was on duty as my kids tumbled out of the car,...

  • Keeping the Los Angeles coast clear

    By Rachel Heller

    September 18, 2013 | 12:37 pm

    When it came time to choose a charity project for his September 2014 bar mitzvah, Ben Moody knew he wanted to support a cause close to his heart. “We’re always on our boat and at the beach, and we love the water,” Moody, 12, said of his Westlake Village family. He counts surfing...

  • Struck by lightning at camp, Ethan Kadish battling catastrophic injury

    August 20, 2013 | 10:53 am

    On Saturday, two weeks after Ethan Kadish’s 13th birthday, the members of his family will gather around a Torah scroll in the chapel of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for a small ceremony marking his entrance into adulthood.

    This was not the bar mitzvah that Scott and Alexia...

  • The Bar Mitzvah, re-examined

    By Rabbi David Wolpe

    August 20, 2013 | 10:39 am

    Last week I penned a column about a Bar Mitzvah party video that had been circulating on the Web. I was incensed not only at the video, but the currency it had achieved, making it appear that this was a paradigm of Jewish celebrations.

    The article was written at white heat. A few...

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